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How Will COVID-19 Affect Maine Workers' Compensation?

Maine
September 12, 2019
March 19, 2020
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In Maine, the Supreme Judicial Court declared, “The requirement that the disease be ‘characteristic of or peculiar to’ the occupation of the claimant precludes coverage of diseases contracted merely because the employee was on the job.  Russell v. Camden Community Hospital, 359 A.2d 607, 611 (1976).

It provided the following example:

…it is clear that the Law was not intended to extend to an employee in a shoe factory who contracts pneumonia simply by standing next to an infected co-worker. In that example, the employee's exposure to the disease would have occurred regardless of the nature of the occupation in which he was employed.  Id.

Furthermore, it held, “…the disease must be so distinctively associated with the employee's occupation that there is a direct causal connection between the duties of the employment and the disease contracted.”  Id. at 612.

In summation, the vast majority of employees who contract COVID-19, also known as the Coronavirus, are not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits in the state of Maine.